That moment you reach the phone to order your favorite Chinese take-out… and realize you could probably re-create it! That is what this recipe aims to achieve: The juicy, garlic Chinese eggplant from Chinese-American take-outs. Almost vegetarian, because oyster sauce is used, makes this recipe a good alternative to the typical meat dish combo that is served at Chinese-American restaurants. A good substitute for oyster sauce in this recipe would be soy glaze. It uses mushroom umami to create a deep flavor profile that is similar to oyster sauce. Was trying to create this with all of the time and special ingredients worth it compared to paying only $6.00 for a large paper box-like present? Maybe…?
What has been a new positive in your life?
Besides this weather still being incredibly wonderful, Devin and I have been getting a little farther in developing plans for our tree-farm someday!
We both look forward to living off of the land and towards a sustainable future for ourselves. I find that I am happiest and feel so overwhelmingly elated when I can grow my own food, take care of the land, and watch how it can take care of me. I think that’s why farmers enjoy the work they do so much; they are able to work with the land and watch how it will work for them. Even little projects like growing micro-salad greens allows me to feel little spurts of sustainable joy.
I look forward to the day where I can grow my own rows of eggplant and cook up delicious, freshly-grown platters of garlic eggplant…
- 3 TB canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 TB seasme oil
- 1 large eggplant or 4 Chinese eggplants cut into medium-sized pieces
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sriracha
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 glove of crushed, fresh garlic
- 3 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 2 TB oyster sauce (vegetarian option: soy glaze)
The biggest issue I have had with trying to re-create this dish is trying to get the right texture and burst of flavor from the eggplants profile. I’ve found that by frying it in oil for a few minutes and then boiling it in spices and water develops it correctly. However, too much boiling and the eggplant will fall apart. Not enough boiling, and the eggplant will not be as tantalizing.
Feel free to increase the brown sugar in this recipe to your sweetness desire. I chose to not add as much sugar because it opens the door for desert! Well… it mainly cracks the door open so one is not enveloped in a salty-comma.
- Heat the oils in a skillet and stir in the cut-up eggplant. Stir and cook until semi-tender, about 3 minutes.
2. Mix in garlic powder, sriracha, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute.
3. Add in water and simmer with lid for about 5 minutes. Continue cooking on high heat without the lid until the water dissolves and is absorbed.
4. In a separate and small bowl, mix in brown sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and pressed garlic clove. Stir in sauce and cook until it becomes thick, evenly coating the eggplant.
Cook well, live long, and be happy!